Caregivers of Mesothelioma Patients can Benefit from Support Systems
At Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley, we not only care about clients who are battling malignant mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, but we are engaged with their loved ones as well. As this illness advances, patients need more extensive care in order to live as comfortably as possible. In some cases, a relative or friend may take on the role of caregiver.
We recognize that this is a noble and loving gesture, considering that most patients with advanced illnesses prefer to live at home rather than a long-term care institution. In this post, we offer some tips that hopefully can be informative for those who decide to become caregivers for our clients who have asbestos-related diseases.
A wide range of tasks
As a caregiver, you are considered part of a patient’s medical team. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), your tasks may include keeping track of appointments, handling insurance issues, making sure the patient is getting enough food and rest, following medication instructions and helping with everyday functions such as bathing and dressing.
The ACS has several guidelines to ensure that you provide the best care you can:
- Keep the patient involved in his or her treatment plan.
- Allow the patient to make their own decisions, but provide guidance if their judgments are poor.
- Encourage the individual to do as much as they can to care for themselves.
- Be mindful of your own needs, including rest, exercise, healthy eating and medical care.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed, turn to the rest of the medical team for guidance.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from others so that you can take time for yourself. Make a list of tasks you need the most help with, and check with loved ones to see if they are able to assist with anything specific.
These tips will become increasingly important as more individuals are diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases. According to the Environmental Working Group, the incidence of these illnesses may not peak for another decade or more.
Good ways and bad ways to tackle stress
It is normal to feel frustrated, fatigued or otherwise burned out from having to take care of a sick loved one. All people need to figure out the best way for them to deal with stress.
According to the ACS, healthy coping mechanisms include eating healthy food, exercising five times a week, engaging with a religious community, turning to internet support groups, practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga and staying in contact with supportive friends and family.
In contrast, tobacco use, sleep medication, alcohol consumption or bringing work home can aggravate stress.